This Gen Zer applied to 1,700 jobs but only received one offer—and he says hiring managers didn’t contact him until he cussed them out on TikTok

Hunter Howell, 22 years old and freshly graduated with a degree in business administration from Elmhurst University in the Chicago suburbs, has submitted over 1,700 job applications. But in his 10 months of job hunting, he’s gotten only one offer.

“The initial feeling was like, What the hell is going on? What the hell is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?” Howell told Fortune.

Howell aired his frustrations on TikTok, where a video of him explaining his job hunting woes racked up over 700,000 views. 

“If you live in the United States right now, you understand that we’re going through a job market disaster,” Howell says.

Howell explains that as of mid-March, he had sent in 1,600 applications but only received three offers for contractor positions and only one full-time offer: a salaried position selling phones at Costco, which would pay out $41,000 per year. 

Howell says he’s applied to jobs across the board, from marketing and management to retail and fast food. Since posting his viral TikTok on March 22, he’s applied to over a hundred more jobs—north of 1,700 in total—and still has had no luck.

Howell says he feels employers are “playing games” with him and other young applicants. After scoring an initial interview with a prospective employer, he says he will often spend weeks in various interview processes. He’d received rejections after four interviews—or simply never heard back from hiring managers at all. 

A self-admitted “pottymouth,” Howell had some choice words for companies who he felt were stringing him along.

“If you’re a hiring manager or you’re in hiring practices, f-ck you,” Howell says in his TikTok, holding up his middle finger.

Underneath Howell’s frustration is real confusion. He said he wondered if there was something wrong with him or his approach to applying to jobs, despite starting his job search months before his December graduation and taking advice from friends and family.

“I have a degree, no criminal records, work experience, references, a tailored resume,” Howell told Fortune. “It is so baffling. It’s a mystery.”

But even stranger to Howell than his inability to land a good job was the response he received from his post: The TikTok meant to explicitly scorn hiring managers across industries actually drew them to Howell.

“I’ve gotten a ton of [direct messages] from people like, ‘Hey, like, I’m so-and-so with this company. We’re hiring for this role. We want to onboard you,’” Howell said. “And I’m like, Wait, what?!”

Howell says he followed up with the hiring managers in his DMs, but he’s still had little luck finding reliable job leads. He chalks the attention up to the virality of the video—or just companies just trying to get good PR or save face. While the popularity of his TikTok hasn’t landed Howell a job yet, he has found solace in his comments section, where dozens of young people shared his distress.

“A lot of people my comments are saying, ‘Yeah, this has happened to me. You’re not alone. Keep going,” Howell said. 

A bleak job market is ‘disincentivizing to Gen Z’

Howell is one of many members of Gen Z using TikTok to share their job-hunting dejection and rejections. Among other frustrated Zoomers is Lohanny Santos, a 26-year-old with two degrees and able to speak three languages who still couldn’t land a job after going door-to-door handing out resumes to find work.

“It’s honestly a little bit embarrassing because I’m literally applying for, like, minimum-wage jobs,” Santos said in a January TikTok viewed over 25.6 million times. “And some of them are being like, ‘We’re not hiring’ and it’s like, ‘What?’ This is not what I expected.”

These stories of frustration paint a picture of young people’s attitudes towards trying to enter the workforce. Rates of positive outlooks on the job market among entry-level workers dropped to 46.1%, the lowest it’s been since 2016, according to Glassdoor’s Employee Confidence Index released on Tuesday. According to a May 2023 McKinsey & Company survey of 1,952 respondents, 74% of Gen Zers worried about job security even after finding a job.

“It’s very disincentivizing to Gen Z as a total, as a young generation,” Howell said. “It’s very demoralizing.”

Gen Z’s pessimism toward finding work is justifiable: The job hunt has become ruthless, according to ZipRecruiter’s most recent quarterly Survey of New Hires. Across 1,500 respondents, 46% said they found a job in under a month, down 60% from the previous quarter. Only a little over half said they viewed the job-search experience as positive, a 10% month-over-month dip.

But the collective difficulty of looking for a job doesn’t tell the full story. The number of job openings in the U.S. have remained historically high, according to the Labor Department’s Tuesday report, which indicated there were 8.76 million job vacancies in February, a slight uptick from 8.75 million in January. However, the unemployment rate of 3.8% has also reached its highest level in about two years, with young people usually bearing the brunt of any bad job-market news.

Until he lands that still-elusive job, Howell says he still finds comfort in knowing that if he still can’t jumpstart his career, at least it’s maybe not entirely his fault.

“Selfishly, it feels good to know that I’m not the only one, I guess, going through this crisis,” he said.

Subscribe to the CEO Daily newsletter to get the CEO perspective on the biggest headlines in business. Sign up for free.

Article Source

Leave a Comment

api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api api